Many shooter fans have been hoping for more freshness and innovation in the new generation. Titanfall was a step in the right direction (for the most part), as it offered a somewhat different take on the standard shooter formula. But Left 4 Dead developer Turtle Rock Studios will attempt to take another step, as they're cranking away on an extremely promising next-gen title called Evolve. A multiplayer-oriented slugfest featuring four hunters facing off against a single, player-controlled monster, this one sounds...invigorating.
Right off the bat, we're looking at a different format. It's not just about a bunch of dudes running around in circles shooting at each other. Four team members must work together to take down an extraordinarily powerful foe and you can see the action from both perspectives: That of the hunters and that of the monster. Obviously, both will offer drastically different gameplay styles, as the monster is mostly about brute strength, while the hunters will have to rely on teamwork and strategy. The strategic aspect of the game will appeal to those with a more cerebral mindset. "Cerebral" isn't a word that's commonly associated with shooters, right?
There are four classes available to the hunters; you've got Assault, Trapper, Support and Medic. All parties involved will have access to powerful weapons and abilities, but each class has distinct skills that must be properly utilized if the monster is to be defeated. The latter doesn't care what class you are, nor is it going to waste much time with strategy. If you opt to play as the monster, you'll want to eliminate your human adversaries as quickly as possible, and you'll mostly use brute force to do it. As for the four hunter classes, they'll have to play off each other's strengths and weaknesses if they have any hope of survival and success.
I like a few of the more dynamic elements I'm hearing about, such as the danger of the surrounding flora and fauna. It seems nothing is really safe on the dangerous planet of Shear, but you can use that danger to your advantage if you're clever. Usuing the environment to give yourself an edge adds to the strategy and planning aspect, and makes the game infinitely more intriguing in my eyes. Sure, characters will be fully customizable and they'll unlock new upgrades and outfits. There will also be a robust assembly of snazzy perks for each class, which the multiplayer fanatics will certainly appreciate.
Evolve is one of those games that's trying really hard to stand out in an increasingly cluttered pack of shooters. The concept is great and I love the drastically different modes of gameplay between human hunter and beastly creature. The monster will actually kill smaller creatures and "evolve" as the match continues, did you know that? To extrapolate a bit from this information, doesn't this mean that the longer a match lasts, the more powerful the monster will become...? And yes, there is supposed to be a single-player campaign but we haven't heard much about that yet. For now, Turtle Rock is focusing on the co-op multiplayer entertainment.
Evolve should be ready to go some time later this year.
3/27/2014 Ben Dutka